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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan. 18, 2007
    Location
    Heaven on Earth--Sonoma County, CA
    Posts
    1,483

    Default PSA: Please teach your horses to GO FORWARD!

    I am currently horse shopping for a client. She has a limited budget, so we are looking at young and green, or older horses that need some work. Point being, we aren't expecting perfection, and are very clear-eyed that we are looking at projects, and are expecting challenges.

    But I swear, if I look at one more horse the owner raves about how "quiet" it is, and in fact quiet means, "will not move, does not want to work, and will in fact attempt to unload you if you ask it to do anything other than walk around on the buckle," I'm going to scream.

    Folks, going forward is the MOST basic of commands, leg goes on, horse goes forward. No ifs ands or buts about it. I'm happy to deal with not steering, not knowing it's leads, basic green broke stuff, but a horse that has learned that going forward is not a requirement, in fact has learned to actively argue with and avoid the leg isn't "quiet", he's poorly trained and will take a concerted effort to fix.

    So please, teach your horses to go forward. Just about any other behavior can be fixed. But lack of a go button is the start of a path that leads to bucking, rearing, and a very unpleasant end for the horse. IF you teach your horses one thing, please teach them this. It will improve their chances of finding a good home should something ever happen to you.

    Thank you. PSA over.
    Phoenix Farm ~ Breeding-Training-Sales
    Eventing, Dressage, Young Horses
    www.phoenixsporthorses.com
    Check out my new blog: http://califcountrymom.blogspot.com



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec. 16, 2007
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    862

    Thumbs up

    Agreed!
    I saw the angel in the marble and I set him free. - Michaelangelo



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan. 31, 2003
    Posts
    18,472

    Default

    While I certainly can appreciate the spirit of your post, is it possible your client is squishing them and that is why they are not moving? Or is her seat and hand holding them while the leg says go? It's sometimes hard for ammy's to figure out what is going on when things go wrong, particularly on a horse they have never ridden before.

    It's easy to think that everyone else is messing up their horses but it's really not all that likely... just a thought.. or maybe a PSA
    "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
    ---
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul. 24, 2008
    Posts
    2,957

    Default

    Haha, yes, forward is good.

    I just realized last night while riding my horse that my forward button is a little bit broken.

    I seem to have replaced "leg = go" with "cluck = go", probably while working on lateral aids (but he knows now that he can go sideways without going faster/more forward!).

    I'll be working on just this tonight; getting a really solid response *just* from the leg and reminding myself to QUIT CLUCKING!!!



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan. 4, 2007
    Location
    TX
    Posts
    40,170

    Default

    I would add do yourself and your horse a favor, if you are not a trainer, let one start your horse.
    A trainer installs a go button right off and the horse will always know about it, even if sometimes later he may forget it.
    Most non trainers start colts so carefully they forget or are afraid to go.
    Then they end up needing to get a trainer to install that go button after the fact.

    Make it easier on both of you, get a trainer to start your horse.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan. 4, 2000
    Posts
    24,408

    Default

    EqTrainer, if you read the thread about going forward on the dressage forum, you'll see that people seem to want to do everything, anything other than teach the horse to go forward from the leg aid. Jump it, point it toward the barn on a trail, have it chase another horse - anything other than doing 'Leg? No? Go!'

    No, it doesn't have to be the potential buyer's fault. This whole thing of slogging along without having the horse go foward is huge bigger than h1n1. Latest excuse? 'It's a baby! It's too SOON to make him go forward!'

    Oooohhhhh!



  7. #7

    Default

    get a trainer to start your horse.
    That's what I did and not only does he have a good go button, she installed brakes!



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan. 31, 2003
    Posts
    18,472

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by slc2 View Post
    EqTrainer, if you read the thread about going forward on the dressage forum, you'll see that people seem to want to do everything, anything other than teach the horse to go forward from the leg aid. Jump it, point it toward the barn on a trail, have it chase another horse - anything other than doing 'Leg? No? Go!'

    No, it doesn't have to be the potential buyer's fault. This whole thing of slogging along without having the horse go foward is huge bigger than h1n1. Latest excuse? 'It's a baby! It's too SOON to make him go forward!'

    Oooohhhhh!
    Ah yes, I know that...

    but I also for a long time sold horses.

    (And I like being the devils advocate sometimes.)

    I like my horses really forward. But I have seen people shut them down in minutes by holding on w/their lower leg. My dressage horses don't understand that. The leg is on to go, off when they go. Not as in air flying under it, but still. If someone gets on and just.. holds on.. eventually they don't know what to do and so most of them would stop.

    Then again, some kept going. And going... and going... I would start wondering, when will they STOP TELLING THE HORSE TO GOOOOOOO GOOOOOOO GOOOOOOO with their leg? Do they really want him to keep going like that?

    Really it was enough to drive one to drink. So I sell less horses now and I'm not an alcoholic.

    I also tend to get a little cynical when someone implies that the customer has tried many horses and they are *all* messed up. I can usually tune a horse to go the way I want it to in a few seconds. Sometimes a few minutes. If every horse I rode was at fault.. well, I'd have to start looking at myself instead, because I would be the only common denominator. Blaming all the other people who have trained them and blaming the horses doesn't seem to be really productive.

    But yes, most horses don't really go. My "PSA" is that maybe it's not always the horses fault and that a lot of ammy's only have experience w/one horse and don't really know HOW to make another horse go.
    "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
    ---
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    May. 3, 2006
    Posts
    11,568

    Default

    Agreed.

    Coincidentally this was something we were talking about last weekend.

    I've a new member of staff started a month ago. She works for me 3 days a week and is currently doing a degree in Equestrian Science and her BHS Instructors qualifications at a nearby College.

    She's started riding out and schooling 4 of mine and has fallen in love with one in particular. She came in for lunch having been on a morning's exercise and announced that she'd never ridden horses so forward and willing. She said that her favourite has an extended trot to die for and willingly gave it with the lightest of aids.

    I won't have horses that aren't light and responsive though and I can't stand to see them slouching along needing masses of rider impulsion just to keep a half decent walk going.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul. 10, 2006
    Location
    Far far away
    Posts
    1,997

    Default

    My guess is you're not looking at thoroughbreds



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb. 23, 2008
    Posts
    391

    Default

    psh I ride my OTTB with spurs. . . lazy brat thinks he is a QH and supposed to trope around on the buckle (and came off this track believing that most likely why he left the track)



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec. 12, 2005
    Location
    Myrtle Beach, SC
    Posts
    3,122

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by EqTrainer View Post

    But yes, most horses don't really go. My "PSA" is that maybe it's not always the horses fault and that a lot of ammy's only have experience w/one horse and don't really know HOW to make another horse go.
    I think there are different speeds of GO too... and for someone who is used to riding a REALLY BIG Forward mover, smaller moving horses GO is really non climatic.

    Mir= moves like an elephant. Little QH.. I feel like I"m going backward even when the poor thing is really working it's tail off.
    If i'm posting on Coth, it's either raining so I can't ride or it's night time and I can't sleep.



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct. 29, 1999
    Posts
    14,496

    Default

    It is critical, especially when starting youngsters, that they go FORWARD! If a rider is not comfortable with letting that baby to in a nice forward gait, find someone who will before you make it balky and resentful, and possibly dangerous.

    In Europe, they have a whip handler on the ground, to help keep the baby forward.

    All of my youngsters are started using a light leg, but their main signal to start with is the whip tap. They understand that much better, as they know whip = forward from their lungeing work. Apply light leg, open the front door (hands), and tap. They need to learn quickly to go/stay "in front of the leg".



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct. 28, 2007
    Location
    NY
    Posts
    4,058

    Default

    Personally I really appreciate the obedient whoa (in all situations) more than anything else.



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan. 10, 2008
    Location
    Western NY
    Posts
    5,830

    Default

    I actually bought my horse because his favourite gait was clearly "whoa." He was a greenie who had really only been taught one thing, which was to stop. I was happy to have that factory-installed for me, and being a greenie myself I wanted a slow older made horse, but in my budget, was happy to find an equally slow younger floor model.

    Once I re-installed "go," he suddenly remembered that "go" was fun. Now once fences are involved, he has to be sometimes reminded of the "whoa." But I like him anyway. d;



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Oct. 29, 1999
    Posts
    14,496

    Default

    Whoa is not something we teach for a long time. To stop, you just say good girl, and give a pat. They stop on a dime. Seriously, we have never had to teach whoa. It is not like they run off with you. They are ALWAYS looking to stop at first. Riding a baby is like taking your foot off the gas going uphill in a car. When we do ask them to halt, they are quick to accommodate. They learn it all by themselves at the end of each ride. By ride 2, they are experts at whoa.

    a horse that has learned that going forward is not a requirement, in fact has learned to actively argue with and avoid the leg isn't "quiet", he's poorly trained and will take a concerted effort to fix.
    THANK-YOU!!

    We begin stepping our youngsters over tiny crossrails within their first 10 - 15 rides. Not that they are ready to jump, but it backs up the forward aids by giving them something that exaggerates their desire to not go forward. We can then really tell them they must go forward when we ask, and where we ask, even if they don't want to.



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Oct. 1, 2005
    Location
    Sandy, Utah
    Posts
    6,036

    Default Tiny PSA addendum

    Whoa is great. It's also a forward gait. So is backing up.

    And I would appreciate some alleviation to my own personal aggravation by being able to watch people ride FORWARD when schooling over fences, instead of 'backing up' at the canter to crawl over. I sense it's how they were taught, or instructors didn't scream at them enough, or something. But I realllllly wish they'd feel the joy of galloping on down to a fence and jumping out of stride and galloping away. Just once, maybe, and they'd see what they've been missing.

    Thanks, I feel better now.



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Aug. 30, 2005
    Location
    Up and down the west coast!
    Posts
    3,886

    Default

    I see people who have ten or less rides on a horse and they're trying to ride on contact and get the head into whatever position. The poor horse never learns to just go forward on a loose rein, not ever. I don't know if this happens due to fear of pitching away a greenie and letting them learn to balance themselves, or if it has to do with trying to create a finished-looking horse at light speed, but I think it's the root of the problem.

    I broke mine out in a bitless bridle...totally pitched away. He goes forward, without spurs, and he's a QH.



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Apr. 4, 2006
    Location
    An American Living In Ireland
    Posts
    5,658

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Chall View Post
    Personally I really appreciate the obedient whoa (in all situations) more than anything else.
    My husband does all the ground work when we start youngsters and always teaches all of them whoa. My warmblood filly is a gas ticket because when she hears "whoa", she stops absolute square with her head in. I always feel like taking a bow!

    I also can't stand not forward. I'm little and do not want to "carry" a big warmblood around with my legs. Same filly from above got it into her head that this was all a little too much work for her and thought plodding would be better. I don't ever hit one in these situations, but believe you me you can jazz one up pretty good by getting your legs and arms moving while throwing in a few good growls. In other words, ride the hair off them! She got the message and is quite unfrightened of anything going on while on her back!

    Also, get them the heck out of the arena. Don't be scared because they're young. If they have good solid basics and the whoa installed - get them out.

    Terri
    COTH, keeping popcorn growers in business for years.

    "I need your grace to remind me to find my own." Snow Patrol-Chasing Cars. This line reminds me why I have horses.



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Apr. 4, 2006
    Location
    An American Living In Ireland
    Posts
    5,658

    Default

    I also agree with Darlyn and Catksn:
    I put crossrails on the ground because it's fun and they do go forward. And as described above, this isn't a show so chuck their heads away for a little bit and get them moving. That's why I like to get mine out to the fields ASAP. Teaches them forward and fun but also remember, they aren't fit so they really can't tank around a field with you. And if they do, chuck that head away, they won't go anywhere for very long.

    When I first moved to Ireland I was getting on youngsters for my good friend Carole. I was on a big ole halfbred who had about 10 rides total when she said come on we will go into the 80 acre mare field. I thought she was joking. Yup out with the youngsters and 5 mares who had no interest in us at all. We mostly jogged and had a couple of canters. She taught me the value of just letting go and having fun and teaching young horses early on the concept of forward and new situations.

    Terri
    COTH, keeping popcorn growers in business for years.

    "I need your grace to remind me to find my own." Snow Patrol-Chasing Cars. This line reminds me why I have horses.



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